“We closed the tough 2016 year with 47% growth”

Jean Ghalo is a multi-cultural entrepreneur, marketing & imagery consultant, and founder of Jean Ghalo & Friends production house, Dubai. Born in Lebanon, raised in Dubai and having traveled all over the globe, Jean Ghalo is a multi-cultural entrepreneur that has turned his passion for marketing, communication, photography and all things digital into his life’s work. Translating his unconditional commitment, discreet nature and personal touch into every task he undertakes no matter how trivial, he ensures a personalized service and an unequaled attention to detail.

Having collaborated with several international brands and specializing in luxury, with an emphasis on watches, Jean has delved into the watch-making industry in all its aspects.

Jean speaks to GMR to talk about his achievements and experiences:

What was the whole concept behind Hublot’s new MEA campaign featuring Rahgeb Alama, especially why did you choose Budapest for shooting the campaign?

As everything Hublot, it had to be around the Art of Fusion, connecting past to the future, East to West. Ragheb is an Arab celebrity who has travelled the world, living the life of a singer and jet setter… He has performed in front of many generations, over four decades now… Budapest was chosen for its nice character and historical architecture, and ewe saw it fit for bringing Western culture to the East; the Middle East through Ragheb and the West through Budapest.. which makes the Art of Fusion. I fell in love with the city when I visited it at the end of 2015 for a Hublot boutique opening, and since then, I felt I had to hold a photo shoot there. I didn’t realize it would be for Hublot until it happened…

You have a passion for marketing, communication, photography and all things digital. How do you maintain the balance?

Well, my work is my passion and my passion is my life. That’s all…

Marketing is what makes me think… Communication is where I explore things… Photography is a never ending adventure for me… Digital, I could say, is what brought me to all the first 3 points…

Today, living in an era of imagery, no marketer or communication manager would be able to perform at their best with what the world needs if it does not include photography: that’s my humble philosophy. As for me, everything I see today is through the lens, all marketing and communication campaigns/events we plan, I first see the photo in my mind…

Technically the day is 24 hours, and I am one person, but I can tell you by working 20 hours a day, managing my time as we were taught at engineering school, traveling the world and discovering a new culture every day, my days are “hecticly” balanced.

What led you to relocate to Dubai and what projects are you working on at present?

Simply, war in my home country… but Dubai became my home and base to the world from day 1. I have many projects in the pipeline. We closed the tough 2016 year with 47% growth while everybody else in the market was suffering, and now I’m thinking about how to increase that to 100% growth in 2017. I would say Q1 will let you start seeing some projects and Q4 will be magical.

You have worked with several celebrities. Can you talk about what it was like to work with them?

Well as long as the human touch is there, it is all good. I would say real celebrities are artists, and they have their days and ups and downs. Sometimes the same celebrity is easy to work with and on other days, that same celebrity is the person you would like to just punch (joking)!

I like working with mature celebrities, not divas, as I learn from them. Mature ones are modest and down to earth, and that matters for me… They trust you in what you do and they are ready to get all instructions and sometimes requests from you, as they know and trust you can make them appear at their best.

What’s the next step in your growth path? What do you plan to do?

My concern is how to take my IMAGERY LAB Jean Ghalo & Friends (production house) to the next level. As the first photographer from the region who executed an international campaign, my photos were all over the world. I would say my focus is on working on a bigger East and West scale, being on the global map like most renowned photographers, as is the case now with watches and cigars, but with different subjects such as fashion and automotive.

With the volume of social media available and the various channels to communicate, how do you expect to tap into social media branding in 2017?

Social media is becoming more and more effective and crowded at the same time. 2016 was an incredible big year for SM, especially with live content, which Snapchat took by storm, live videos with Youtube and Facebook and by end of the year, we even saw Instagram stories and disappearing messages come out.

In 2017 we will see a lot more imitation from Snapchat on this, and it will be nice to see how this will evolve as it becomes important for the end consumer who are engaging with it the most.

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